INTERNATIONAL - Duterte jokes about smoking marijuana

But at my age I am not really bothered because I take marijuana to stay awake

"So I have to catch up with the reading, wala na talagang panahon", he said. "It's too late to change".

He said there was "no logic" to Duterte's statement Monday night that he took marijuana to keep up with the grueling schedules during meetings with other heads of states.

A few of his audience during the awarding ceremonies for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Organizing Council chuckled at the admission of the President, whose brutal crackdown on drugs has claimed thousands of lives and stirred global furor.

"He [Duterte] does it because usually events are boring ..."

From calling a reporter in the USA a "son of a whore" in 2016, to kissing a married woman on stage during a political speech, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte seems to beat US President Donald Trump in being politically incorrect.

Images and stories from Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's brutal war on drugs have shocked audiences worldwide, as bodies have stacked up in cities across the country, many of them victims of extrajudicial and vigilante killings.

His controversial war on drugs has killed almost 5,000 suspected drug dealers and users since taking office in 2016.

"I use marijuana to stay awake", said the president, 73, while speaking at a ceremony to honour Philippine diplomats.

But in an interview with reporters, he said he was not serious when he said the statement.

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"Medicinal marijuana, yes, because it is really an ingredient of modern medicine" Duterte said.

Panelo rejected claims that President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself had a hand at Ressa's arrest warrant since he has repeatedly slammed Rappler for being critical of his war on drugs and other policies.

Ms. Ressa says she will challenge the charges, which include three counts of failure to file returns, and one count of tax evasion.

Panelo added on Tuesday that if people who hear the remark are "offended", it means Duterte was not joking.

"Yung mga bata hindi naman nanonood sa speeches ni Presidente eh (The kids don't even watch the President's speeches)", said Panelo.

"I don't have to ask him because we've been together for 30 years", said the presidential spokesman.

While he is against synthetic substances like shabu, the President is open to the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

"There is a disconnect between what the president admitted to do and what the president said he will do to those who use drugs", he said.

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